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'Carpocalypse' comes to Canada as rental car shortage worsens – CBC.ca

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When James Charles-Roberts booked a vehicle back in May, he and his family were looking forward to a two-week holiday in Southern California.

After several attempts to visit Disneyland were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the November vacation would be a chance for the Victoria, B.C., family to use their theme park tickets before they expire.

However, when Charles-Roberts called in June to move his reservation for a seven-passenger Ford Explorer by a day, the cost of the car rental nearly tripled.

“I booked the vehicle for $480 and when I called to make a change the price was $1,286,” he said in an interview. “It was just a minor change so we decided to keep our first reservation.”

The car rental shortage — or “carpocalypse” as it’s been dubbed in the U.S. — highlights what is expected to be a bumpy economic recovery as supply chain issues throw car rental supply and demand out of whack.

The problem started when nearly all travel was halted at the outset of COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Car rental reservations plummeted, prompting companies to drastically downsize fleets and lay off workers.

“Most if not all car rental operators across the world had to reduce their fleets significantly during the pandemic due to extreme reductions in consumer demand,” said Craig Hirota, vice-president of government relations and member services with the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators.

“Nobody was travelling for vacation and corporate travel was basically non-existent. It left a lot of unused vehicles sitting on lots.”

Lots of demand

Now, the situation has reversed. As the economy reopens and demand returns, a global shortage of semiconductors has crippled vehicle production and caused lengthy delays for new cars and trucks.

“The car rental industry has not been able to resupply their fleets,” Hirota said. “They just can’t get vehicles.”

Enterprise Holdings, the U.S. parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, said the chip shortage “has impacted new vehicle availability and deliveries across the industry at a time when demand is already high.”

The company added in an emailed statement that it’s “working hard to secure additional vehicles to meet the increasing travel demand and support customers’ broader transportation needs.”

Prices skyrocketing for what’s left

In the meantime, car rental operators are jacking up rates amid the tight supply and increasing demand.

“I think there’s some price-gouging going on for sure,” Charles-Roberts said of his experience trying to change his Los Angeles airport vehicle reservation.

The industry-wide car rental crunch is already in full force in the United States, where stories are emerging of tourists renting U-Haul moving vans or private vehicles from locals to get around.

Car rental companies slashed their fleets when demand plummeted in 2020, and now they can’t ramp up fast enough to keep up with demand. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

The problem is expected to worsen in Canada this summer, especially in regions that rely heavily on tourism.

Many airport locations in East Coast cities like Halifax, Charlottetown and St. John’s are nearly sold out on weekends this summer.

“The impact is being felt everywhere — at least in hot tourism spots across Canada and the U.S.,” Gary Howard, senior vice-president of marketing and communications with CAA Atlantic, said in an email.

“Most of the fleets are leased so during the high point of COVID, fleets were shrinking,” he said. “Now it is coming back but the car rental companies cannot get enough vehicles back in the fleets.”

While the car rental shortage is expected to be felt more acutely in tourism destinations, prices are up across the country.

Hamilton resident Allyson Rowley said she often rents cars for long-distance travel and to visit family.

In 2019, she said she usually paid about $30 a day, an amount that climbed to about $40 in 2020. But Rowley said she just booked a car for two weeks in August, and the price was $61.52 a day.

“The cost has doubled since before the pandemic,” she said. “I’ve made an ethical and financial choice to not own a car as I mostly walk and bike and only rent a car when I need one, but it’s becoming unaffordable.”

For travellers hoping to rent a car this summer, experts say it’s critical to book early, search beyond airport locations and be prepared to pay more than usual.

It may also require alternatives to car rentals such as car sharing or public transportation as they say the shortage isn’t expected to ease up any time soon.

“If you’re planning travel, we encourage you to reserve a vehicle as early as possible,” Enterprise Holdings said. “Providing flexible travel dates and branch pickup locations in your search may help increase your options.”

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News

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Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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Canada's transport minister speaks out about 'unacceptable issues' at airports following reports of luggage chaos at Pearson – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Canada’s transport minister is speaking out about the “unacceptable issues” that continue to result in significant delays at Canadian airports after images surfaced on social media showing hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up at Pearson International Airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, told CP24 on Tuesday that a number of issues over the past several days have led to “challenges with baggage,” including “flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions with the baggage system.”

So far dozens of people have spoken out about losing their luggage at Pearson, including one woman who told CP24 that her bag was lost once on the way to Phoenix and then again on the way back to Toronto, resulting in a frustrating “suitcase scavenger hunt” that ultimately proved fruitless.

There have also been numerous images shared on social media showing huge piles of luggage in the baggage claim area at Pearson, which travellers have had to search through in the hopes of finding their missing bags.

“What we are seeing today is that while many of those Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Canadian Border Security Agency issues have significantly improved we continue to see delays, cancellations and luggage issues,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters at an unrelated announcement in the GTA on Wednesday. “I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon. They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Pearson has been plagued by delays for months now amid increased demand and some staffing shortages.

Alghabra said that at this point the federal government has done everything in its control to address the issues at airports, including increasing staffing at customs and at security checkpoints.

He said that his government is also looking at “possibly extending the suspension” of random COVID-19 testing, which was supposed to be lifted on July 1.

That, he said, is because it is taking longer than expected to address the logistics of moving the testing off-site.

“What we are seeing is the surge of demand for air travel beyond what anybody expected and that is honestly good news. But the surge in demand is outpacing the ability for airlines and airports to enhance the resources that they need to accommodate that surge,” he said. “So we are working with airlines and airports to ensure that the resources needed, that the scheduling adjustments that are needed are addressed. Because we are also seeing extreme peaks at certain hours of the day.”

Tory says he will speak with Air Canada about issues

Many of the luggage issues at Pearson have reportedly involved Air Canada flights.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, Air Canada said “that avoiding baggage delays is a top priority” as they are “disruptive and inconvenient” for customers and lead to added costs that the airline ultimately has to bear.

But they said that with the “well-documented issues” plaguing airports and resulting in last-minute flight cancellations there are simply more instances of delayed bags.

“I think the overall record is better today at the airport than it was a few weeks ago and I think there is every reason to believe that progress will continue,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the issues at Pearson. “I am not personally familiar with the precise way baggage is handled but certainly from my limited knowledge it occurs to me that most of the responsibility rests with the airlines, so I will, undertake in light of what has happened to be in touch with Air Canada and find out from their perspective what the problem is, what they are doing to solve their part of it and if they believe that governments in the broadest sense can be helpful in making things work better so those baggage issues don’t arise.”

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Canadian Businesses Need Integrated Facility Services

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Many Canadian businesses require professional facility management to streamline their operations for the smooth functioning of buildings and facilities. Hiring separate contractors for different facility responsibilities, however, can become more time consuming and convoluted. An integrated facilities management company can act as an end-to-end solution for all your facility management needs and take care of all responsibilities.

Hiring a qualified integrated facility services team allows businesses to consolidate facility management under a single discipline, which includes integrating tasks, employees, technology, and safety. This simplifies facility management by bringing together different services under a single contract.

Consider how your business operations and management can benefit from integrated facility services

Time to Focus on Core Business Tasks

An integrated facility services team will take care of all facility-related services, allowing you to better allocate your time and resources to core business tasks. When you remove the burden of facility management off your shoulders, you can focus more on other aspects of your business, such as designing or building products, communicating with clients, and marketing.

A professional facility service provider will develop a tailored solution to meet a facility’s specific requirements. An experienced team can follow regulatory standards, improve communication between employees, and create a better workplace environment.

Lower Operational Costs

According to research and analysis, 90,600 businesses disappeared between 2013 and 2017 – and this was before the impacts of the global pandemic. The costs associated with running a business continue to increase, impacting the life-expectancy of businesses across various industries.

Switching your facility management to consolidated integrated services led by a professional will reduce operational costs by allowing you to invest in one provider, rather than a handful. Having only one point of contact will also reduce the time and labor required needed to coordinate with the provider. You can leverage economies of scale by streamlining facility operations, making the process more cost-effective.

A knowledgeable integrated facility service team can audit your workplace and identify cost-saving opportunities. They can guide strategic sourcing and allow you to bundle vendor services and contracts to save you money. You may also get discounts or benefits from pre-negotiated rates when a single company handles your facility management services.

Better Response Time

Facility management includes a wide range of services that require attention for smooth business operations. If management is inefficient, you may notice delays in the work process, leading to revenue losses.

When integration is done correctly, you’ll notice that response times will improve. Most efficient integrated facility service teams use modern technology to manage multiple sites and business operations. This allows better collaboration among team members despite their location and improves response time.

Streamlined Operations

Compiling all your facility management activities with a single company can be faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient. When business operations are streamlined, your team will notice more flexibility, improving employee engagement and better relationships with stakeholders.

An integrated solution is a more comprehensive approach because it is simpler to manage a singular point of contact. This will streamline the decision-making process, improve quality, and enforce accountability.

Embracing Integrated Facility Services

The Canadian Facility Management Market stood at USD 32.17 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow until 2026. A singular point of contact will make business operations less overwhelming, allowing you to divert your attention to other aspects of your business.

The key to successful integration is hiring a professional company with extensive experience managing facilities. When you find the right provider, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to relax knowing that your management is in good hands.

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